Christmas: A Time To Be Of Service and Put Love Into The The World?

Take care of God’s creation. But above all, take care of people in need

– Pope Francis


“I’m not contagious, but he didn’t know. He just did it; he caressed all my face, and while he was doing that, I felt only love.”

– Vinicio Riva


I say let’s not restrict our care, our love solely for people. Let’s expand our compassion to include animals and life itself.  Let us learn from the example of John Unger as expressed in his relationship, care and love for Schoep, his dog.


“Shep falls asleep every night when he is carried into the lake. The buoyancy of the water soothes his arthritic bones…… 

I want people to identify with this photo, and remember a time when they felt safe, loved, and cared for,” “Then I want them to channel those feelings and pay it forward!…

– Stonehouse Hudson

Awesome people deliver awesome experiences: 3 tales of customer experience delight and a Christmas message

Panic – where is my medicine?

I have been diagnosed with an underactive thyroid.  That means that I start my day by popping a Levothyroxine Sodium tablet into myself. There is nothing good or bad about it – it is just so if I want my metabolism (and body/mind) to function properly.  This morning I woke up and found that I had used up the tablets in the kitchen.  No problem.  I headed up to my bedroom where I keep the ‘spare’ supply.  There should have been a box of 28 tablets there and I did not find them.  Panic!  Its Christmas, the doctors surgery will be closed.  How am I going to make it through the next five days?

The first delightful customer experience

Given that I need my medicine I rang the doctors office around 8:15 this morning.  Sure enough – the voicemail comes through and announces that the surgery is closed for the next five days.  Then the system puts me through to the out of hours service.  Within a couple of minutes I am talking to friendly lady and she takes down my details.  When I hand over my postcode she tells me that she used to live here – on my road.  Wow!  I ask her when she lived here and she replies “35 years ago”.  She did not know of my house because back then it was not there – it was simply a field with a rundown old abandoned house.  She goes on to tell me that they used to sneak in as they thought it was spooky.  I am totally immersed in the story and loving being on the phone to this lady.   Awesome!  I am left smiling and laughing.

After we finish sharing and laughing she asks me a few more questions and tells me that she cannot authorise a repeat (emergency) prescription.  The doctor has to do that and he will call me.  I ask her if I can get it from my local chemist.  She tells me that I should give it a go – they may be able to help me out.  I thank her, wish her a great Christmas.  I make my mind up to go the chemist as I do not believe that the doctor will ring me anytime soon and I need/want my medicine now.

Second delightful customer experience

Its around 9:15 and I am getting ready to go to the local chemist and try out my persuasion skills.  The phone rings, I pick it up and a calm, relaxed, good natured and humorous voice asks “Mr Iqbal what is the emergency?”  It is the doctor calling.  I tell him that it is not an emergency and I need to get the Levothroxine tablets today.  He tells me that he has already prescribed seven tablets and I can collect the prescription from my local hospital.  What really gets me is the being of this man as evidenced in the tone of his voice and his language.  Here is a man at ease.  It is clear that he has a way with people:  I bet he loves his job and in doing his job he is coming from the context of ‘being of service – taking delight in being of service’.  Awesome!  I am left smiling and inspired.

Third delightful customer experience

I don’t want to spend 40 minutes driving to the local hospital and back.  So I make my way to the local chemist – only two/three minutes walk away.  Its almost empty and so I walk straight into the arms of a beautiful smiling face.  I say “I’d like to speak with the dispensing chemist please”.  She smiles back and get the dispensing chemist.  I share my predicament and make a request “Please give me seven tablets to get me through until the doctors surgery opens” and I show her the paperwork that shows that I am authorised to take this medicine.  She says “That’s fine, you can have your medicine, it will take two minutes. By the way we can take care of getting the paperwork done at your GP and have your 56 tablets ready by next Friday.  Would you like us to do that?”  WOW! I say “Yes, please”.  Two minutes I have the medicine in my hand and am looking at two smiling faces.  I thank them both and wish them a great Christmas.  I walk out of the pharmacy with wings.  How awesome people (our fellow human beings) can be!

Lesson: I, You, They, We, Us are awesome even if our behaviour does not show up that way all/most of the time

That is right I totally get that I, You, They, We, Us are awesome.  Really we are awesome.  That is not the same as saying our behaviour occurs as awesome all of the time.  This is where context and environment come in and play a huge part.  When I, You, They, We, Us operate from supportive environments and the right (motivating, inspiring) contexts our behaviour tends to be awesome and we leave people feeling/saying “WOW”:  we are elevated and we elevate all who come into contact with you. When the environment and/or the context are not threatening, invalidating, uninspiring (not touching the human ‘soul’) our behaviour shows up and occurs as “Yuck” – the people who come into contact with us are left disgusted to some degree.

I thank you for listening and taking part in the conversation

I thank you for listening and taking part in the conversation that is The Customer Blog – without you I could ask the question “Is there a sound when the tree falls down and there is no-one there listening?”.   If you do not know what that means then let me spell it out:

I thank the people who inspired me to write this blog.  I am thinking of you – Stefanie O’Meagher and Kevin Smith – old colleagues and friends.  I am also thinking of my wife, my brother in law and my sister.  You are the people who are responsible for this blog – you are the ones that told me that I had something to contribute to the conversation.

I thank the person who spent two-three hours with me showing me how to set-up a blog in WordPress.  I am thinking of you Alex – my old colleague and friend.  You may not realise this but you are the foundation of this blog.  Without you it is quite likely that my voice would never have been expressed and there would be no conversation called The Customer Blog.

I thank each and everyone of you that subscribes to this blog. Each of you has inspired me to continue to write. How/why?  Often I think that I have nothing new to add to the conversation and why the heck would anyone want to take part in this conversation.  Yet what is so is that there you are – you subscribe, you read and you comment.  You make it possible for me to see what I can so often not see – that I have something to contribute.  With you I know that as a result of your listening my speaking is worthwhile.  You say to me “I see you; you exist”.  Thank you.

I thank each and every person that has reached out to me, told me that he/she likes what I have to say and invited/enabled me to make a contribution.  In particular, I am thinking of you Bob Thompson.

I thank each and every person who has recommended The Customer Blog on Twitter.  In particular I am thinking of Colin Taylor the first person who got me present to the significance of the #FF tag.  I am also thinking of you Nancy (of Vovici).

I thank each and every person who follow me – I mean really follows me as opposed to follows me – on Twitter.

Make it an awesome Christmas conversation and experience

You are awesome – really you are.  Be awesome.  Make it an awesome Christmas conversation and experience for you and all the people that you will meet and interact with this Christmas.  Need a powerful context?  How about operating from the following context: love of yourself and love of the people around you.  Love is letting people be just as they are and just as they are not.  Love occurs when you give up your point of view on how people should be, how the situation should be, how the relationship should be, how the world should be.

From a zen perspective, don’t believe what I say, don’t discuss it, don’t argue against it, don’t just accept it, don’t file it away in your mind.  Do try it out in a spirit of lightness, fun, experimentation and experience what shows up for you and for others.  If it works use it, if it does not work then discard it.

What is there to say?   I am beautiful, you are beautiful, they are beautiful, we are beautiful.  This is a beautiful world – we really can experience it if we give up “shoulding” and see, really see, what is there.

I love you and I thank you for taking part in the conversation that is The Customer Blog.  I wish that you be great this Christmas and create a great Christmas conversation and experience for yourself, your loved ones and our fellow human beings you come into contact.

With so much customer focus why am I not drowning in thank you cards?

On the one hand just about every large UK based corporate is professing  their commitment to the customer.  Some say they are committed to customer service.  Some declare their commitment to customer focus.  A few are bold enough to state that they are customer-centric.  And many are busy improving the customer experience.

So how is it that deep in the festive season that not a single corporate – Sky, BT, Orange, Amazon etc – has written to thank me for being a customer over the last year?  If the customer is king – as is so widely accepted – then does the king not even merit a thank you wrapped up in a Christmas card or email?  Maybe I am just a poor customer and you are a good customer.  Are you drowning in thank you’s wrapped up in Christmas cards?

Think what my experience as a customer would be if I received a thank you card at Christmas.  Just a genuine thank you with no up-sell or x-sell message or offer.  Is it possible that would have occurred as positive customer experience?  For me definitely.  How about you?

Interestingly, the only cards that I have received are from small recruitment agencies.  Whilst they have followed the Christmas ritual they have not done so with heart.  Or put differently personalisation and personal are very different.  Business people confuse the two and at their costs.  Enough on that –  I will write a post to explain the difference.

It strikes me that customer-centricity in the UK is like the fresh fruit in the UK supermarkets:  the fruit looks good yet when I bite into the fruit it is almost always tasteless.  Now compare that with France where the fruit does not look as good yet is delicious.


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